Meeting of Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations held to discuss handing down movement to next generation

by Jumpei Fujimura, Staff Writer

On October 20, the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) opened a two-day meeting in Tokyo with representatives from each prefecture. The participants shared their views on possible activities and issues related to next year’s 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings and reported on efforts being pursued in their own prefectures.

About 80 A-bomb survivors and second-generation A-bomb survivors took part. Terumi Tanaka, 82, the secretary general of the organization, referred once again to the organization’s two main pillars of activity: the abolition of nuclear weapons and national compensation for A-bomb damages. Highlighting their prime challenge, he said, “Considering the fact that A-bomb survivors are aging, we must do our utmost next year, which marks a major milestone. This is a critical time.”

Hiroshi Shimizu, 72, the secretary general of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations, chaired by Sunao Tsuboi, shared its activities, which include learning about former leaders of the A-bomb survivors’ movement. He said, “As we invite young people to take part, we are discussing how our movement can be handed down to the next generation.”

Kazuo Okoshi, 74, secretary general of the other Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations, chaired by Kazushi Kaneko, pointed out that the number of survivors in Hiroshima who are able to provide A-bomb testimonies has declined to half compared to about 30 years ago. “This is a serious situation. We are giving training to those who have newly obtained the Atomic Bomb Survivor's Certificate so they will be able to share their A-bomb accounts.”

The agenda for October 21, the final day of the meeting, includes dispatching delegations to the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), which will take place next spring at United Nations Headquarters in New York, and holding an A-bomb exhibition during the Review Conference. Hidankyo will also lobby the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Diet members.

(Originally published on October 21, 2014)